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Star Ledger

“Near-tragedy inspires a family to action”

Aug. 28, 2005, changed Farley Boyle’s life forever.

On that day, just a few days after Boyle had given birth to her third daughter, her middle child, Chase, almost drowned.

Chase is doing well now, and her mother has turned a near tragedy into a way to educate others on the importance of learning lifesaving techniques.

Boyle, who lives in Little Silver, founded and became executive director of C.H.A.S.E. for Life, a nonprofit organization with a mission to make infant CPR/Heimlich education free and readily available to parents. The organization works in collaboration with EMS volunteers and hospitals, and has created a community outreach initiative to provide expert instructional resources and training to families, child-care providers and the community at large.

Boyle clearly recalls the day Chase nearly drowned in the Shrewsbury River outside their home.

"We have a 35-foot center console sport fisherman. I had come home from the hospital after giving birth to Abigail, and my husband, Patrick and my dad, Bill Snow, were taking my other daughters fishing right on the Shrewsbury River. Chase, then 2 years and 2 months old, came upstairs to hug me and looked out the window. Thinking they were going to forget her, she ran downstairs and out the door and onto the boat to play with things in the tackle box.

"She fell off the dock and into the water and went down 6 feet. Her sister Mackenzie, who was 4 at the time, saw it happen, and my husband pulled her out," Boyle said.

Fortunately, Patrick Boyle knew what to do. Before Mackenzie’s birth, the couple had taken an infant CPR course, and that day, Patrick Boyle used it to save Chase’s life.

"After three rounds of CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, she came back," Farley Boyle said. "The EMTs arrived on the scene within three minutes and they took over."

After three days of observation in an area hospital, Chase was bought home. "Thankfully, she’s fine," Boyle said.

After the ordeal, Boyle jumped into action, hosting a cocktail party for 30 neighbors, friends and family to discuss the importance of knowing lifesaving techniques.

"The Little Silver EMS gave a demonstration about the importance of infant CPR training, and I contributed and collected donations in the amount of $2,000 that night to give to them as a result of the in-service workshop they provided on our behalf at no charge," Boyle said.

"Chase’s name served as the perfect acronym for CHASE for Life, which refers to CPR Heimlich Awareness Safety Education," she said.

Since then, C.H.A.S.E. for Life has educated almost 900 people in Monmouth County, giving workshops at pre-K facilities, PTO meetings, middle schools, area businesses, moms' groups, homeless shelters, baby showers and other in-home gatherings. The workshops are offered free, she said.

In addition to discussions and demonstrations, the nonprofit provides an 18-minute animated short using a penguin and his sidekick to inform and instruct viewers.

"Paddy the Penguin, named after my husband, is responsible for educating and empowering anyone that views the video with these priceless basic life-saving techniques. The story board takes place in a zoo and shows accidents taking place in daily life that can result in having to potentially use CPR or the Heimlich," Boyle said. The penguin’s sidekick in the film is named Chase and resembles Boyle’s daughter, she said.

Zcreative in Newark produced the film. Sarah Callahan Zusi is the owner, director, writer and executive director of the film. She is married to Patrick Boyle’s first cousin Damian Zusi.

"The entire production from front to back cost $175,000, and in the real world 23 minutes of top-shelf cutting-edge animation on television can cost around $850,000. It’s great to have talented, kind family members in your back pocket that believe in your mission and are willing to call in favors on your behalf," Farley Boyle said.

"C.H.A.S.E. for Life is a group effort between me, my husband, who is a trader on Wall Street; my father, an accountant who is the secretary/treasurer; my friend, Vickie McDougal, who is in charge of PR and marketing, and others who have played a part in getting the nonprofit off the ground and keeping it going," Boyle said.

In addition to the nonprofit, Boyle works as a fashion model and is currently involved in the Discovery Health Network’s "Runway Moms" series.

"I've been modeling since I was in college -- more than 15 years of magazine covers, ad campaigns and the like. 'Runway Moms' is an exciting adventure, and we recently shot another show with pregnant models that should run within the next three or four months. In the meantime, I want to continue spreading the word about the importance of learning CPR and the Heimlich. Our motto is 'What you learn today can save your child’s life tomorrow,'" she said.

Information on the nonprofit organization can be obtained at www.chaseforlife.org.

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